EWU Cross Country Team Starts Season Sept. 8

Aug. 22, 2007

The Eastern Washington University men's and women's cross country teams will begin practices next week for the 2007 season, which begins Sept. 8 at the Grizzly Invitational in Missoula, Mont.

In this year's Big Sky Conference pre-season polls released Wednesday (Aug. 22), Eastern's women's team ranked sixth and the men's team was seventh. Northern Arizona was picked to sweep both men's and women's titles.

On the women's side, Northern Arizona ranked first with 57 points, followed by Montana and defending champion Weber State, both with 56 points. Rounding out the list were Montana State (42), Idaho State (32), EWU (29), Portland State (25), Sacramento State (18) and Northern Colorado (9).

On the men's side, Northern Arizona was picked first with 62 points and was followed by defending champion Weber State (59) and Montana and Montana State (46 points each). Idaho State (32), Sacramento State (30), EWU (22), Northern Colorado (14) and Portland State (13) round out the list.

"On the women's front, I think Montana is a team to watch," said head cross country coach Chris Zeller. "They're tied for second in the poll, but have a lot of young talent. The Northern Arizona and Weber State men's teams are stacked, so they are rightfully ranked 1-2."

Eastern returns several key performers from last year's teams. The men's roster includes four returning runners and eight newcomers, while the women have nine returners with six newcomers. The men placed seventh in the Big Sky in 2006 while the women were sixth.

Joining Mattie Bridgmon on the women's team will be returners Amber Nickelson, Nikki Buchholtz and Kiri Garruto. They will be joined by new teammates Tracy Kuhn, Lauren Matthews and Samantha Modderman, a senior transfer from Cedarville University.

"We lost Camille Moseley from a year ago -- a tough person to lose -- although she'll be out for her senior season of track this spring," said Zeller. "However, Mattie Bridgmon ran some amazing times this spring in track (17:07 in the 5,000 meters and 37:02 in the 10,000 meters), and I think she will make another jump this season. Our women's team doesn't have a person on it who isn't a natural leader."

The Eagles men return Paul Limpf, who was All-BSC with his seventh-place finish at the Conference Championships last season. "He is coming into the season with a great summer of training under his belt," added Zeller.

Joining him will be Alex Smyth (freshman), Tyler Justus (sophomore), Bowe Ebding (freshman), Cody Bradwell (freshman) and Graham Vaux (freshman).

"They should be able to develop and gain great experience this fall and be able to get used to the training load of a college program," added Zeller. "I'm excited to work with them and watch them grow throughout the year."

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